Facebook advertising has grown to become an expected pursuit in the digital marketing world; its ability to pinpoint a specific audience that’ll resonate with your service is tricky to compete with, and when honed in well, it can pay off tenfold.
With great reward comes great responsibility though; Facebook has dozens of intricate rules laced into the terms of service when it comes to advertising on their platform. Without knowing these rules you’ll spend more time changing ad copy and resubmitting for approval than you will watching the leads pour in, and nobody wants to do that.
We’ve compiled a list of tips that you can follow to have your ads fast-tracked through the approval process and on their way to success.
Choose the right picture
Facebook is pretty particular about its picture choice in advertisements, and since Facebook tends to display your ads on Instagram as well by default, it’s important that your pictures look as good as they can. We’re visual creatures, and photos are stimulating and attention-grabbing.
You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words? Facebook wants you to adhere to that quite literally and allow the picture to do all the talking:
Previously, if 20% of an ad image’s area was text, it wouldn’t be approved to run on Facebook, Instagram or the Audience Network. While minimal text is still preferred, we’ve adopted a new system that allows you to run ads that would’ve been rejected under our old policy. With our new system, ads with higher amounts of text will receive less or no delivery at all. – Facebook Advertising Policy
While you can have ads that contain more text than 20% of the image, it’ll come at the expense of receiving little to no impressions, thus entirely defeating the purpose of advertising altogether. If you’re not sure whether your ad adheres to this 20% rule, Facebook’s put together a text overlay tool that’ll scan your imagine using the same means the automated ad approval system would and let you know whether the image complies with the policy or not.
Not only are there specific rules on how much text a picture can contain, but there are also rules that dictate ideal image size requirements. For your standard advertisement, the recommended image size is 1,200 x 628 pixels — this will be scaled down automatically for mobile ads if you have them selected.
Bear in mind that the following also count as text within the context of an ad:
The easiest way to bypass this rule is to keep your text within the picture to an absolute minimum, but if you feel as if your ad desperately needs the text, you can shrink down the font size so that it ultimately takes up less than the maximum 20% of the image. Keep in mind user friendless in these cases though; if your ad text is so small that the user can’t decipher what it says without squinting, chances are pretty high they’ll just keep scrolling.
Keep the subject material rated G
We get it — law can be messy sometimes. While the latest defective drug may have some horrifying side effects, it’s best to keep the juicy details for your landing page. Facebook has a rule specifically for these types of instances:
Ads must not contain shocking, sensational, disrespectful or excessively violent content. Ex: Images that may shock or scare viewers; images that are scary, gory or sensational – Sensational Content
Sensational content can be flagged as anything from a description of a drug’s side effect that’s just a touch too detailed to a simple picture of an auto accident used within an ad.
The easiest way to work with this rule is to use vague-yet-informative headlines and ad copy. You want your reader to understand that using X drug has some nasty things associated with it, but you ultimately want to encourage them to click on your ad and read about the specific details on the page devoted to this.
Don’t get this tactic confused with “clickbait” — such tactics can ultimately dissuade users from engaging with your product in the future if what sits on the landing page doesn’t fully satisfy the curiosity you piqued in your misleading headline.
Bad: “You won’t believe what’s happening to people on prescription X!”
Better: “A new study has confirmed that prescription X may lead to symptom Y.”
Don’t insinuate anything about your audience
This one’s a biggie, and without a doubt one of the most common reasons an ad gets rejected.
Ads must not contain content that asserts or implies personal attributes. This includes direct or indirect assertions or implications about a person’s race, ethnic origin, religion, beliefs, age, sexual orientation or practices, gender identity, disability, medical condition (including physical or mental health), financial status, membership in a trade union, criminal record, or name. – Personal Attributes
Facebook is very, very strict with this rule, and lawyers in particular often find themselves clashing with it in various regards.
Let’s break it down:
Bankruptcy attorneys: You are not allowed to make any insinuations about the financial status of the people viewing your ad, including drawing any hints whatsoever toward the idea that they may be in debt.
Bad: “Struggling with debt? We can help you put an end to debt collector calls.”
Better: “Filing for bankruptcy can put an end to constant debt collector calls.”
Personal injury attorneys: You may not phrase your ads in any way that may be insinuating that the person viewing your ad as been injured.
Bad: “Injured in a car accident? We can help you get the money you deserve.”
Better: “Car accidents can be terrifying, and the medical bills that follow can be worse. We can help make sure it’s the party at fault footing the bill.”
Employment attorneys: If you’re pursuing discrimination cases of any sort, you cannot phrase your ads in any way that insinuates that the person viewing your ad is part of any protected group.
Bad: “Has your employer discriminated against you for being a member of the LGBT community? We can help.”
Better: “Our firm prides itself on fighting for the rights of the LGBT community in the workplace.”
The list goes on, but you get the gist.
The easiest way to comply with this rule is dead simple: remove any instance of the word “you” from within your ad.
The very moment you mention the word “you” within an ad, you imply something about the reader, intentionally or not. In my experience, Facebook’s automatic ad approval system will flag ads the majority of the time they have any mention of the word in the ad copy as a whole, including the headline, news feed description, or ad text itself. Your best bet is to remove any instances of it from the ad, rephrase, and resubmit.
The same can be said about questions within an ad:
“Had an accident?”
“Discriminated against at work?”
While none of these mention the word “you” within them, they’re directly asking the viewer a question as implied by the question mark, and thus insinuating that there’s even a chance the viewer of the ad may fall into any of those categories. Try to avoid questions in your ads altogether to speed up the approval process.
When all else fails, contact Facebook
In the event that you feel you’ve followed all of the guidelines but are still facing off with an ad that was disapproved, appeal the ad. You can do this by visiting Facebook’s business support page and clicking “chat” about halfway through the page.
From there you’ll fill out their contact form, and select disapproved ads from the list of possible questions you may have.
Quick tip: Reference the ad rule that allegedly was broken in your support message. Not only does this show that you’ve done your homework, but it gives you some footing to argue your point as to why your specific ad doesn’t actually break that rule.
It’s not uncommon for Facebook’s automated system to flag something that shouldn’t have been flagged, so don’t assume right away that you actually broke a rule in the process. If you’ve followed these tips and your ad has been rejected, chances are a human review will reveal that you’re indeed in the clear and they’ll get your ad up and running in no time.
Sound like too much of a pain to handle? We get it, and we’re happy to take care of your Facebook advertising for you to ease the burden. Get in touch with us for a quote to see how we can help.
Taylor is a digital strategist at JSO Digital. He graduated from Millersville University, and currently resides in rural Pennsylvania.